Apex, N.C. — Police were searching Thursday for a man who robbed an elderly couple in their Apex home at knifepoint.
Mildred Perry, 84, was returning home, at 306 Olive St., at about 12:50 p.m. after a trip to the grocery store when a masked man brandishing a knife forced her inside and demanded cash, police said.
Her husband, Ronald Perry, 86, was home at the time, and he told WRAL News that he heard a man threatening his wife. When he went to check on her, he said, the armed man told him to sit down or he would be killed.
"I begged him not to hurt us," Mildred Perry said in a call to 911. "He told me he was a drug addict and he needed money, and I gave him all I had."
She told the dispatcher the man threatened to rape her if she didn't give him more money. He then fled on foot, she said.
Neither of the Perrys was injured in the robbery, police said.
Apex Middle School was locked down for about a half-hour while police searched the area for the robber.
Mary Morris, who has lived across from the Perrys for nearly four decades, said she was appalled that someone would prey on someone so vulnerable.
"We don't worry normally that much about the neighborhood," Morris said. "I just have to think it has to be an isolated thing with somebody who's pretty desperate."
Both Ronald and Mildred Perry have had heart problems in the past, she said, and she was relieved that they weren't hurt and didn't suffer and medical issues during the robbery.
"I'm just grateful they weren't hurt. They could have been really harmed because they don't really have the skills to take care of themselves," she said.
The robber was described as black, about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a slim build and either a shaved head or very short hair. He was dressed all in black.
Capt. Ann Stephens of the Apex Police Department said investigators believe similar robberies targeting elderly victims returning home from shopping have occurred in Wake County, and they were checking with police in Cary and Raleigh and Wake County deputies to determine if the same man might be responsible.
"It frightens us and worries us that people would attack the elderly," Stephens said.
She added that holiday shoppers, especially the elderly, should be extra cautious and mindful of their surroundings.
"Before you get out of your car, try to see if anybody is around," she said. "If anybody looks strange that's around your home or street, if you're worried, don't stop at your home. Drive around the block to see if they leave."
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Apex Police Department at 919-362-8661 or send an anonymous text to TIP411, using keyword APEXPD.